There are so many things that I thought of adding to the list but I’ve decided to only include those that I personally believe to be the most empowering and life-changing. If you can already do some (or all) of these than you are definitely empowered and should start teaching other girls and women how to do them too!
1. Self defense
When you find yourself in a dangerous situation knowing how to defend yourself so you can get away is critical. If you don’t have the money to afford or can’t find a local self defense trainer this shouldn’t stop you. The internet is full of articles, guides and videos on self defense training – watch and read these, they could save your life! Then get together with some friends or a sibling and practice these moves (without actually hurting each other).
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2. Perform basic first aid
Knowing basic first aid could save your life and that of someone else. Learn how to perform CPR, how to stop bleeding, how to help someone that has been electrocuted or is chocking, has been hit by a car or has broken a bone. It empowers you as a human being and gives you an inner self confidence that is indescribable. Once again you could attend a course in or around your area or alternatively learn the basics online (watch video tutorials over and over again) and practice with a friend.
3. How to swim
Apart from being a skill that you’ll never forget knowing how to swim could save your life and that of another. This is something that will be very difficult to learn on your own (even with youtube as a guide), so find a teacher, friend or family member that you trust and ask them to teach you, you’ll be surprised at how many would be more than willing to help. Always have someone nearby supervising you, even in shallow water.
4. How to tend a garden and grow vegetables
Some girls learn how to grow vegetables because their families rely on it to survive but if this isn’t your case then why not learn this skill, you never know when it may come in handy! If you don’t have a garden at home, speak to your teachers or neighbors to find out if they know of a patch of sand you could use to start growing vegetables or herbs. Learn how and when to plant different vegetables, use a lawnmower, shovel, rake and when to water plants. If you live in an apartment, flat or complex, grow plants on your balcony in pots or even on your windowsill. Nothing is as magical as planting and watching something grow. There are so many websites that can teach you how to garden, from avocado trees to lettuce and carrots your options are limitless!
5. Be self sufficient
It’s easy to ask your dad, brother or boyfriend to change a burnt out light bulb but why shouldn't you? More and more women are learning how to do things for themselves, and you should too. Learn how to unclog a blocked sink or toilet, how to change a light bulb, remove or tighten screws, change batteries, set up and dismantle a computer, change a flat bicycle or car tire, jump-start a car and check the oil and water, use (and know the difference between) a drill, saw, hammer, wrench and screwdriver.
6. How to light a fire, set up a tent and build a shelter
While few of us that are not campers, hikers or girl scouts believe we will ever need to know how to make a fire or build a shelter life can throw unexpected twists and turns at us and having basic survival skills can really save your life. Whether you start by learning how to light a coal or wood fire, start somewhere. Build a makeshift shelter from wood, grass or whatever is available in your backyard. There are amazing online guides to help you learn how to do these things. The methods and resources used differ but go for the most basic and work your way up.
7. How to ride a bicycle
Most children learn this from a very young age but you’d be surprised at how many girls and women don’t know how. Just like swimming it’s something you almost never forget how to do. The first time you ride a bicycle is a feeling you’ll never forget! If you don’t have a bicycle and can’t afford one then ask friends or family, many people have bicycles that have been sitting in their garages or storerooms for years. You could even trade them by helping with homework, cleaning or gardening in return for using or buying the bicycle. This probably won’t save your life but is very much worth knowing how to do!
8. How to cut or style hair
This is something that will take a lot of practice to master but will save your family and friends lots of money! And it’s just cool. Start by watching “how to cut boys/long/short/curly hair” videos on youtube, watch them over and over again until you have a very good idea on the methods used for different hair types then grab a willing family member or friend and start by doing simple trims and styles. Trim your brother’s fringe or sister’s long hair (one or two centimeters at most). Then keep watching tutorials and reading guides. If possible accompany any family member when they go for a haircut or style and watch intently, you could even ask the salon owner to let you sit and watch for an hour or two every other day. I always cut my little brothers hair for school and trim my mom’s ends every two months. Who knows, you could even make some money once people know you cut hair!
What do you think we should add to this list? Let us know about your attempts to learn one of these skills, or about your past experience on learning them. Let us know who taught you how to swim or how you learned to ride a bike!
Finally please pass on and share your skills with other girls and women in your community, you could change someone’s life!
This post was written by our volunteer Alexandra from South Africa. We appreciate her for taking time to write this post.
Photo's courtesy of Google.
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